The small window is a passage to the world for Rebeka Khatun (22) since she rented the tin shed room two months ago. Living in hospital for ten months took most of her will power after the deadliest incident of her life. Now she does not think too much. But the silence of her tin shed rented room does not allow her to rest in peace. Idle Rebeka now thinks about the charger fan that is restlessly cooling her. The inventor of the Dolphin charger fan might never have thought a garment factory worker could think about this fan for such long time. Yes, she wants to think different things now-a-days. She is tired of answering the same questions, tired of seeing unknown faces, tired of begging from people, tired of crying so long. She needs a break but from what she does not know.
When she closes her eyes her mother gently touches her cheeks. The mother who once made cow dung to feed Rebeka. The mother who wiped her tears when she cried and slept in hunger. Rebeka and her mother Chan Banu (45) had seen all the ups and downs in life. In the village they had to even beg to survive. Chan Banu did everything for her daughter Rebeka . She was life to her. Rebeka opened her eyes that were filled with tears and touched her right leg which itched all the time. There is no electricity for two hours and the restless Dolphin fan slowed down. Rebeka was sweating; the salted water flowed from her body, her eyes and maybe from her soul. The girl who started earning at the age of 15 never imagined her life without her mother and as a disabled person. She could not sleep the last two nights. Rebeka’s husband Mostafizur fanned her the whole night but pain is part of her existence now. Even when she opens her mouth only pain is visible on her face.
She lost her father in childhood. Her mother remarried just to save her from hunger. Fate did not take any right turns. After some years the mother and daughter moved to Dhaka with her two stepbrothers. Her stepfather’s only problem was Rebeka. But Chan Banu chose her daughter. Their struggle took them to the right place after so many years. That was to the garment factory. Thinking about the happy times unconsciously Rebeka slightly smiles. Her mother used to buy fishes for her after getting her salary. The last 12 months she and her husband’s life depended on charity. One year ago together they earned 22000 taka. Now the government assures her 10000 taka monthly as interest of her compensation that is hardly enough to live a disable life in the costly city of Savar. It’s been four years since Rebeka got married. She and her mother together joined Rana Plaza. They went everyday to their factory Ethar Tex hand in hand. One month before the biggest disaster ever she had a miscarriage. She and her mother cried a lot. Chan Banu said, ‘Don’t worry! Allah will give you happiness ma!’Huh! Happiness! Rebeka tried hard to turn her body around and her tongue dried. She had to ask her husband for a glass of water. Asking for help is now her only job.
Rebeka has gone through eight operations. Now she is mentally preparing herself for another. Depression is a minor word to express what Rebeka feels about life. Five members of her family died in the incident of Rana plaza. She was sewing the last piece of a pocket during the one hour left of her assigned work. She was about to go to the canteen to join her mother who was a peon in Ethar tex. After recalling the last glimpse of her mother she felt hollow. The mother who sacrificed all her happiness for her, she could not even hug her for the last time. She could not find her body. No DNA test matches. No compensation. No consolation.Disabled Rebeka is hoping for nothing. Life has treated her in the worst possible way. She just wants to know why Allah punished her!
It is not only that daughters like Rebeka are crying for mothers. Hundreds of mothers are each day crying for their dead daughters. Hundreds of mothers are still roaming around in front of Rana Plaza after nearly twelve months after the incident by holding pictures of their dead children. On the day of the accident Romila Begum (46) combed her daughter Lovely’s hair and requested her not to go to garment factory. Romila continued, ‘I am afraid Lovely, do not go for collecting the salary today. I will somehow manage our today’s food.’ Lovely had a fight with her husband and after leaving three of her sons to her mother she left for the garment factory . And never returned.
Clutching Lovely’s photograph at the site of the ruins, Romila fainted after saying, ‘My daughter gave her gold ring before leaving the house, and now how I will feed her sons and my family without compensation Allah!’ Ambia Begum who also came to join the demonstration by demanding compensation holds Romila. Ambia Begum harshly said, ‘You people will never understand our pains of losing children. Compensation isn’t charity, it is the right of my daughter’s blood’.
But the survivors who lost one or legs aren’t very hopeful with the compensation they got from Government. Rehana Khatun (24) was a sewing operator of New Star Ltd. at Rana Plaza. She had been rescued after 20 hours and had amputated two legs amputated six days after the incident. She said, ‘two years ago everyone in the family was against me taking a job in the garment factory. I left the village after my father’s death because I wanted to give a better life to my two younger brothers. When I started sending money back home they all became positive. I bought gold rings and a television for the family. I became the role model for my village.’ By telling these facts Rehana’s face suddenly gets depressingly dark by adding, ‘I do not want to go back to the village. Conservative villagers already told my mother that I ruined my life because I wanted to be independent woman’.
Rehana is not hopeful with the money the government gave her. Rehana said, ‘Interest of 1.5 million every month for two legs! But who will take care of me? Who will give this extra expense? I could have earned this money and have a good life at a lower cost if I were well. I want a way to run my life. I want a job that I can do in this situation.’
For Yanur the 1st term exam is more important than remembering Rana Plaza’s anniversary. She believes that she will be able to forget those unbearable scars of her muscle injury. She believes that she will be able to remember all the word’s meanings of her English book. She believes that she will one day forget pains of her chest and the memory of her mother. She believes that one day she will recover from the trauma and will no more cry for no reason. When Yanur rushes forward with the sharp sound of that scary crack-crack of the wheelchair, everyone understands Yanur is going to the William and Marie Taylor School that is inside the CRP (Center for the rehabilitation of the paralyzed) hospital from the hospital hostel. Talking about her present condition Yanur was looking through the little window of her small cabin keeping her favorite book Maxim Gorky’s ‘Mother’ aside. She softly whispered, ‘I missed mom a lot. I have five siblings. Poverty forced my mother to seek job in Rana Plaza at Ether TexLtd. Two years ago she found the job for me there too. We together worked and she used to say after some years we all will return to village with our savings.’ Introvert Yanur has had no frienda other then mother Anowara Begum. They found her body in the building after 17 days.
Anowara came to Dhaka with her family 18 years ago because of river erosion. Yanur’s father is waiting for compensation. He is coming every day to visit his daughter in CRP. For taking care of the five little children he recently got married. Speaking positively about her new mother, Yanur said, ‘What can my father do alone? He has to all the time take care of me. Our new mother is a little different from my mother. I am trying hard to accept her. Only it hurts a lot when I call her mom.’
Now-a-days Yanur finds it hard to remember things. She has had a massive muscle injury in her left leg. She was in the emergency unit of Apollo Hospital for nearly a month. By touching Yanur’s new hair she sadly said, ‘I had long hair. My hair was under a pillar; my leg was opposite under another pillar. I heard people sucking each other’s blood in thirst. But I believed at that moment my mother was alive. After one month I knew she was dead. My father went everywhere for compensation and got three lakh for my mother and for me nothing.’ Yanur is trying hard to recover from her injury by attending physiotherapy. She wants to continue her education. Putting the English book on her lap she asked, ‘Who is responsible for my disabled life? I want to forget my scars, my right leg that I hardly can move; they said they will not give me money because I did not lose my legs. Can they imagine how bitterly I am living every day? I want to be well-educated; won’t they at least give me this opportunity?
Nearly twelve months have passed since the Rana Plaza collapsed in Savar on 24 April, 2013 ‐ one of the deadliest accidents in the history of the world’s industrial sector. This tragic incidence has pointed to the fact that workplace safety and security for workers, even in the globally competitive RMG sector of Bangladesh, is far behind the required standard. An industry in which 3.6 million women are working in Bangladesh, a job which brings liberty for women. The total number of deceased is the same for most of the noted organizations and so far 1134 dead have been reported. The numbers of victims initially buried without identification, prior to the DNA test results, were 291. The Rana Plaza tragedy resulted in an outpouring of commitments from governments, local and global institutions, groups and individuals. According to some reports, each family of the deceased and seriously injured received up to a million Taka
‘I bet almost everyone in this structured world at least once in their life, feels like leaving their predictable complacent and comfortable surroundings and lose themselves in a chaotic, crazy and frenzied ‘nowhereland’. When I get lost in such a hectic adventure my pulse rises rapidly as I leave behind all the sober responsibilities that I have. When I leave to get lost in such an unknown destination I am transformed into a Gypsy. Most people of all countries of the world welcome travelers with love. Perhaps it’s because all of them are invisibly chained to their daily reality and seeing travelers makes them dream. That’s why when they see a traveler with a camera their smile says, ‘You lucky dog!’
To go traveling, the one factor that pushes me the most is always photography. To get to know an unfamiliar world I go out to find a story of the people living there then interpret my journey through images. Travel photography reveals everything about a country, a region, a community, a culture, a person. It arouses interest in others to be familiar with the place, to go to the place, and to find themselves in the place’
– GMB Akash
Travel Photographer’s Map:
There was a time when I put my globe on my reading table and imagined myself to be like Vasco da Gama. I wished to take pictures of the world with my small tiny black machine. Time passed by and I understood that if I open the ‘window’ of my map that my own country comes first and only after walking through it do I want to go to other countries. The importance of our Petenga beach in Bangladesh can be the same as being in Laos for me. The Dhaka mosque is an ideal setting with which to start shooting that prepared me for the intense inspiration that that I felt at Istanbul’s Blue Mosque. However, it is not only desirable destinations in other countries that create excellent photographers. Even discovering one’s own territory provided the pleasures and excellent photographic results equal to those of a world tour. For those people who get the chance to travel outside their own world, their TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER’S MAP becomes like a puzzle to be solved. When you are aboard you like to take pictures of everything you see. Because when we are away from our known place a lot of questions arise in our minds. How differently do these people wear clothes? What do they eat? How do they travel? Where do they pray? Restless clicks of travel photographers start at dawn and last throughout the day in order to get all these questions answered in the form of images. If you can gather together all this answers it will become your complete travel story.
Travel Photography pack light and with love:
Sleepless nights and unstable feelings are what a traveler photographer experiences before a journey. From Cox’s bazaar to Switzerland my feelings are the same kind of restlessness before such trips. I admit that there are few people who are very calculative, well researched and who can follow their initial plan for their photography tours without becoming impulsive. But I belong to the first group. The thing with travel photography is that it’s dreadfully addictive. You want to go when you want to go, reasoning be damned. But you must practice some self-control and try to remain disciplined.
Try to carry the absolute minimum that you can. Why lug around extra devices in your already heavy back pack? My traveling kit consists of – a couple of dark t-shirts, three pairs of jeans, a hat, a belt with lots of compartments, a must-have torch, all in one knife set, a flame-less safety lighter, a camera strap, three-four hard drives, a laptop, a phone, and a tiny toiletries kit and my precious dairy book. That’s all.
Hats off for bringing out your soul:
Congratulate yourself whether you are traveling within your native land or to a foreign culture. Not all people have the courage to step out from their comfort boundaries. The best thing travel photography can do is bring out your soul. On the first morning in a new place I wake up with the sun and get ready as fast as possible to hit the ground running. To know a new place, new people, new cultures morning light is blessed. Whether I am traveling to Sundarban, Bangladesh or the ancient ruins in Rome, Italy, my focus is on discovery. If your photography can discover the secret to enchantment of the place then you can depict your travels accurately through those genuine frames. Shoot the topic you find the most interesting. Shoot something that puts a deep mark in your heart and that will represent the place. Your story will be the invitation from that particular place that will attract anonymous people to visit it. So the rules are:
- Surprise yourself by discovering a new place, a new culture, a new life pattern, different norms or simply different people
- Create your album so that it presents something unique about the topic
- Attract attention
Always be alert and informed:
A new place invites new danger. When you are doing travel photography alone you must be alert about your safety. I have faced a lot of such incidents that would have been life threatening if I had not reacted instantly. Whatever area or country you are visiting try to find out basic safety cautions. Avoid dangerous areas by finding out where they are from locals. Do not always trust taxi drivers. Try to skip night outings alone. If you introduce yourself to a stranger do not give your full information. As a travel photographer you have to be like a dog. You must be able to smell out both danger and images.
Money and food matters:
Make a smart budget. In a new place there are chances to be cheated. I save for several months in order to do travel photography so it is important that I have my expenses broken down in order to help me to meet my budget. If you spend too much unnecessarily then at the end it will affect the quality of your travel experience and spoil your trip. Try to find out where to locate the cheapest but nicest places to stay and eat. Try to stay vigilant and not let people fool you. Invest wisely. And never compromise by not trying local foods. For example, in Nepal my morning starts not with bread but with MoMo the delicious local dumplings. Indulge in these small things which help you to integrate into the culture. Travel photography and the resulting work are never complete if you are not a part of the experience.
Open up to new people – you have heard it more than a thousand times but I am going to add it one more time. First – in the new place, make observations. Second – go a little bit closer by taking random pictures of everything. Third – Start communicating, either with a local vendor, or children or shopkeepers. Start a conversation. Fourth – you will be automatically diverted to the most attractive thing of the spot that holds your attention as an outsider. Fifth – if a particular thing attracts you then spend a long time with it. Slowly but surely the people of the place will start to act normal and will go back to their natural gestures. Remember to look at a place widely and then begin narrowing it down one scene at a time. Finally you will find a beautiful discovery that is worthy of depiction.
Respect the situation. Know about the norms of the place. Learn a few local words to communicate. If you are in Shylet (Bangladesh) you can amuse people with your Shyleti words. If you are in Manila (Philippines) try to do the same. If you do not understand something sensitive, silence is the best way. Be polite when you are shooting women, young girls or teenagers. Never offer money after taking photographs. This is a very bad practice which creates long-lasting problems later. If you want to give something, give a gift. For example, I always carry chocolates for children.
Now go! Feast your eyes:
Travel photography is something that you owe to yourself. If you are a good travel photographer then you know all genres of photography from landscape to street, people to culture. When you are traveling as a photographer try to be a person with whom people want to associate. While doing travel photography I like this attention because this interaction with people helps me to discover a culture and the people more intensively. Remember that you have to be constantly on your feet. I hardly ever take taxis because slow walking is the best discovery machine for which travel photography can be thankful. So let’s walk and start shooting.
Dutch travel photographer Wil Thimister and GMB Akash are going to take ‘A Visual Voyage’–by way of a Travel Photography Workshop 2-9 May. Whether you are a beginner, an enthusiast, or a professional, First Light Institute of Photography is inviting you to join the workshop on a truly amazing photographic adventure. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in participating. To know more details, visit: http://wp.me/p3F0uP-5W
The place is very well-known to me. But still this very familiar place is like mystery in many ways. I have been here for fifty times and my camera took every memory from each time of my visit. Apart it to me it is one of the most mysterious or the simplest destination that I was heading for 51 visits. At the side viewer of my taxi I saw buses full of Indian community queuing behind us. Telling numerically every day how many people come to visit this place is impossible. I have reached to my destination, ‘Pashupati Temple, Nepal’. In one glance the place seems like it has taken a shower with morning glow. The magmatic light may never visible to me like this before. The flavor of the magnetic aroma by the near shop and flowers waiting in shops are always welcome signs for tourists.
I do not like an easy way. I love to be lost. So, I did not enter the temple premise. I went inside a ‘Dhramashala’ nearby. In the yard of the ‘Dharmashala’ a lot of families made their spaces for themselves under the open air. They are tribal Indian who visits Pashupati once a year. All married women of all ages wearing anklet and a ring in the middle toe in dark toned feet. In the time of taking picture of a woman she burnt her roti that was in the pan. Her hungry child grabbed it fast before other four could take it. They do not understand Hindi, Nepali or English. Their children’s yelling and their tired faces described well from how far they come. I let them struggled with their rotis and leave for my next place.
By taking pictures as like other times I entered to Pasupati with another way. In front of me the giant and impossible ‘Pashupati’. Hearing the rhythmic chanting and sounds of temple rings I kept walking inside. Before I normally could inhale the smoke and tart air a group of people suddenly bumped into the place by saying ‘Hari’ ‘Hari’. They are carrying dead body and going to the river side. I started following them magnetically. Echo of some crying women made the atmosphere heavier, moneys those were throwing papers on people stopped for a while. A woman fainted when she went to give water to her dead mother. The dead body has been placed there ritually. Three dead bodies were preparing for their eternal ritual. Having mental balance to take photograph in such moment is tough. Having consolation for the family at the same taking picture is a toughest moment. In the time of great grief nobody bother about me or my camera. I started taking picture like an invisible person. No one look at me or ask to leave. I continue to capture moments of farewell.
When I no more can bear the pains of people who kept crying in an unknown language I leave the place. I only notice those naughty monkeys when one of them tried to take my cap. They were following me all my way. After walking a while I meet my known priests. They are always same in the all years round. Their posture, ornaments and clothes remained same. The Hanuman with his mobile phone inside his box or the naked Shadhu all are always there in their right place. One of them loudly said with a smile ‘Bangladeshi Akash, Kaise Hau?’ During taking their pictures smell of different fragrant were coming along. I moved by following it. I kept discovering Pashipati. Pashu means leaving beings, and Pati means master. In other words Pashupati is the master of all living beings of the universe.
I went directly to the hindu cremation ghat of pasupati. The same old fragrance welcomed me. Flames from fire, smoke and ashes were all around. Relatives of dead bodies were seating inside and outside in the premise. A dead body was ready for the final ritual. After putting all woods sequentially the son of the dead person set fire. Relatives were holding holy copies and kept chanting.
Opposite of me I saw many photographers and people were seating in the staircases. The sound of spiting fire and woods kept haunting me. Ashes were all over my body. After two to three hours ashes only remained.
When the place was preparing for another burial I saw a lot of young children below in the river collecting dead woods that threw in the river side. They are from outside Kathmandu Valley and living near the Pashupati Arya Ghat area regularly collect half burnt wood thrown to the Bagmati river after cremation, to sell to the brick factories located near Kathmandu. Before one of the Dhakal ask me not to take picture any more I Closed my camera.
The sun was going away may be with all remaining souls. In the temple a religious music was playing. In this holy place in between of all this loses some people keep searching lives. Life and death is so close to this place maybe that’s why very very special – ‘Pashupati’.
*** Pashupati area is regarded as one of the most important places of pilgrimages for the followeres of Hinduism. Thousands of devotees from within and outside the country come to pay homage to Pashupatinath every day. Pashupati area is also included in the list of world cultural heritage.
Minu (10) was hesitating to take the doll. Our smiles work and she offers her right hand with a slight smile. When we gave her the new Barbie doll she quickly holds it with her two arms. Before we ask her to take a photo she flies like a bird with the sound of laughter and joy. Her innocent voice was up in the air, ‘Moina, Rita, Sulekha come, come, see what I have! Hey all of you come and see what they are bringing for us!’
Within a few minutes the eyes of many innocents’ gathered behind us full of desire. Not even their clothes that lost their color from repetitive use nor their dry skin, nor their frizzy hair - nothing could hide the glittering sparkle of their eye balls. Standing by one after another they looked as if they were dreaming of what we had inside the magic box. Suddenly to them we become magicians. Magicians who give surprise and joy. We become the hamiloner bashiwala. All of the children from the factories were silently following us. Some children were running from their factory with the safety goggles still on their eyes. Some stopped their cutter machine and kept waiting for our arrival at the factory door!
When we offered the new car to Manik (10), he nervously asked his boss, ‘Sir, can I take the toy from Akash bhai?’ After the owner waved his head saying yes, Manik jumped to see what we had for him! We gifted him with the car he liked the most which he took in his hand colored aluminum from the factory. Edrish (11) was following us and whenever we asked him what toy he wanted, he smiled and said none. When we were about to leave the factory site he come in front of us and said, ‘Bhai, my age is not for playing. My younger sister has no toy; can I take a doll instead of taking my car?’ When we gave him both the car and the doll he started to dance in happiness.
Alongside the rail line Razib (8) and his friends were taking a rest after carrying passenger’s baggage. We quickly put cars and balls in their hands. They reacted like they got electric shocks and their shouts of joy won over the sound of the train whistle. From Christmas Eve to until New Year’s Day ‘First Light Institute of Photography’ kept gifting new toys to child labourers, street children and unprivileged children of the country. Their joy and happiness still fills our hearts and eyes in such a way that no words could ever describe what we felt!
Can you remember what your favorite toy was in childhood? How many times you cried to get a toy every time you were out with your parents? There are 7.8 million working children in Bangladesh who are having no childhood and who have no toys. Our school, First light Institute of Photography gifted more than 500 new toys to more than 500 deprived children of the society to inspire and to motivate them as well as to encourage them towards happiness.
Our deep gratitude goes to friends who generously contributed toys after getting the news on my Facebook page. Our heartfelt thanks to them for standing beside us. Thanks to Wil , Anja, Fakrul, Iqfat, Moinuddin, Mou, Sadat for their contributions of toys and Hridoy, Kakon and Tutul for their time in organizing and distributing them.
Give what you want. Want happiness? Make someone happy. Want courage? Encourage. Want love? Give love. Make your life blissful with blessings you are spreading everywhere.
My friends, I would like to invite you to visit our school website and to know more activities like above:
‘It was midnight, a night about 12 years ago. Year was 2002. It was six years after that I started photography. Without photography nothing was precious to me. I used to save each and every penny of mine to travel and to do photography from 1996. It was a mysterious, tiring night and I did not know what exactly happened to me. I was restless and I decided to destroy my past. I wanted to start a new start with my photography. I could not like my work anymore. I set fire in all negatives that hold images of mine. I destroy each and every image that I had. Maa run as mad and stood still at my window but did not say a word. She knows I love photography more than my life and when it was burning in front of my mother she was looking at me with deep sympathy. I ignored everything. Wept silently. I felt alone and I know this will be the beginning to search a new me. 18 years I am trying to depict images that I see through my soul with the same thirst that one day I could fulfill my inner emptiness’
– GMB Akash
The place I like that I love to go very often. There are places where I went more than 100 times. Every time every place is different than my last visit. I would love to discover stories of my frames. Time changes face of place, people and in fact me. The same place that has been visited thousand times gift exclusive images with different layers.
I can smell photograph. During walking in a street suddenly a place attract me magnetically. I can smell the right place and can smell my future photograph. I wait until I get the picture I want, the waiting makes it more interesting, my attempts make me more excellent. I wait hours and hours with happiness but no boredom. Because I am sure I will get something every very special. Even I spend one day in one place just to get one shot that will remain precious to me for lifetime.
I am a nutty traveler. I never hide myself during I am photographing or traveling. I interact with the community whom I go to visit. I give them time to understand me and I take time to understand them. In any place you will find children and dogs first to welcome you. They will follow you and you have to win their hearts. If they accept you then the community will accept you. Documentary/travel/street whatever photography I am doing I always know I have to respect people and their thought. If someone refused me take picture I accept it with respect. I take photography when I feel the person is easy with me and in the time when I got an affirmative signal. After taking picture I show them and heard their comment. Sometime I take print with me to show them, surprise them. Small interactions make you confident as a communicator and a photographer. It is important to be trustable when you are a photographer. A small thanks and a big smile can win many hearts.
I want to extend my territory as photographer. Roads are like my homes. Sometime people call me ‘Specialized tourist’, sometime ‘Documentary photographer’, sometime ‘Travel photographer’. This photographer me is nobody just a medium to bridge with the people I meet. I create bridge with people’s feelings, with their joys with their sorrows. I merge with their cries, laughs. I walk in the street and collect untold stories of people. Every place has different color, smell, sound. That attraction takes me again again. I am nobody of that place but I feel I left a part of me there with the people I photographed.
‘I keep searching myself over and over again in all cities, footpaths and in streets, from country to countries. People forget about me, my face and my camera. As because I am not any part of their life. But I never can forget a single person I met in the road. I keep their pictures in my mind in my memory card. And I wish one day or one night again I will meet with any of them and will say how I kept their memories in my heart’ – GMB Akash
To Join in my upcoming street photography workshop in March 2014 please sign in at:
For some people life is full of special challenges. Their lives ensure them not to miss a bit of it. Standing in a place which is more minimalist with just few machines and the machines men, where there is one slow fan, one dirty window and air full of dust, smoke and fuel can immediately let you feel ‘suffocation’. Those compact factories create an illusion on me with some simple, but genius strength, ‘Artists creates masterpieces, and worker creates hand pieces, only common is the dedication’.
These small factories has barely one window and that is the only savior as at least light has a way to come into and smoke gets small chance to take a break. Sounds of continual hammering, sounds of all old machines and workers favorite music usually make the place stand out.
To live a life, to feed a family and originally to creating something is their passion behind setting in the hot seat. The economy that runs in air-conditioned chambers are running finest as there are thousands hands in the backyards which hardly stop. These workers are making every small thing that needs to construct a well build society in this era. They make things that are quite often unnoticeable and emergence like, locks of houses, pipe, tap, kitchen materials, metal holder, wire, switch board etc and etc. They might never know how it feels to sweat in air-conditioned cabinet and worrying to meet deadlines. But they know how to make 300-500 master pieces in bare hand with a smiling face. Their weekly wage which varies on production may be the highest 2000 tk for a week for producing 300 item daily multiply 7 days equal to 2100 items may not seem poor wage in their eyes but the fact is they are spending all for their families and happy on it.
These workers do not have any dress code but at the end of the day their attire is same. They are black-grey skinned, dusky-dirty craftsmen of an unknown factory. Their self-made musk and goggles speaks loud how much they care about their safety and under caution of danger every day.
Their music of life never stops. They dance in the one hour break of lunch stepping with the raw Hindi or Bangla songs. So the continuous bits of the music and smiles will make you nervous. How a person can listen to music and greet a stranger after working 14 hours in such a bloody place? Does really they knows any mantra of living happily ever after so much struggles? They are human of worth. Human of worth for all the good will they’ve given to the society without expecting name, fame and money.
‘Sometime a crow visits my balcony and its harsh calling wakes me up. Those mornings often turned me down. In such meaningless morning I just pack my bag, give myself a break and walk out in a nameless street. My endless journey welcomes me ahead and I picked memories one by another from my unknown destination. Capturing a definition of an indefinite street is street photography to me’- GMB Akash
‘Stop being bookish, follow your own theory’
‘Make yourself comfortable’ or ‘feel being at home’ these advices are too bookish to me. In practical, my heartbeat goes up and my knees shake a bit when I stand in a place that I want to express just accurately the way I am encountering. When a cat suddenly popped up with an old woman and their astonishing-frightened-funny stunt gives me a command in my head ‘click-click-click’. ‘But what I shoot!’ I missed a second and that took out all. Yes, this is the biggest challenge that street photography offers you. You have to seize the moment before your cerebrum read it. So the question is, ‘are you afraid being in street’? I believe when a person become photographer he/she leave ‘afraid/anxiety’ behind. I rather call it hesitation/nervousness and insecurity. When you jump into the street by carrying your camera you already killed your 50% fear. Now it is your nervousness that holds you back and just after clicking your first shot you are ready to rock in the road.
‘A photographer next door image’ or ‘an invisible photographer image’?
In the middle of a big crowd, surrounded by so many people different than me sometime I become unusual. And when people started noticing me by raising their eye brows then my big smile helps me out being abnormal. Yes, as a photographer it is very important that you have a familiar face with a universal smile at least an ability that tells people you are reliable. When you learn to merge in the ground then surprisingly you will see that you learn the method of being there but unseen by people. It depends on you either you want to earn a ‘photographer next door image’ or an ‘invisible photographer image’, pick one that serve your intention and that helps you to shot well.
Get the hint
The street that I often visit is not only familiar by me but I am also familiar by it. A common place I visit has a triangle turn where then comes the street corner; there I usually followed by one or two street dogs. In the beginning it was not the same. In the very first day they suspect me and even after touching them they suspiciously moves with me whole day. Now when I appear in the street they wave their tail and follow me obediently. Inhabitants know well that I am no longer a stranger. So whenever you are new to a place make a relation, get a hint or balance yourself repeating something people can understand that photography is your passion not any venture. When you are totally in a new place and you might never get another chance to be there even then try to find a mutual intimation. Trust me your understanding and relation will show in the picture you will take.
Enjoy discovering yourself
Every street is different, people belong to the street is different, smell is different, color, texture, light all are different. Indifferent is you and your camera. Discover a different you in every different street is your voyage. The biggest challenge is to discover the unique thread by this common with your third eye. For me the photograph is only a wow – when I take a picture of the street and after showing it to the curious inhabitant they express, ‘when it happened? Does it really look alike?!’ when people laugh, shout, surprise and question then I get the picture is happy to be about. It’s a treat for yourself when seating at your lab you suddenly bumped in a folder where you found the expression of a European shopkeeper is the same with an Asia shopkeeper just difference is in place and circumstance. Discovering this similarity is way more interesting than finding differences. Enjoy discovering yourself in everything that is the wow factor will keep you motivated in long run.
Try to answer yourself why you are fascinated about street photography. What will it bring to you? Why are you passionate to be in street? Are you stopped yourself because there is no fame or name after continuing do it! Find your inspiring trigger and forget about expectation. Keep yourself motivated, ignore critiques. Find an inspiring space which appreciates that what you are doing. It can be a friend circle; it can be your blog or your website or just your facebook. It is very important to be inspired to continue your work that you are doing.
What actually Street Photography gives you?
- Street Photography helps to be a good photographer. Street photography has a trial and error method that helps you to enrich yourself as a photographer though whatever your field is.
- It brings you the utmost courage to go to that much close to the people that someone allows to welcome a stranger. Its helps you to mix with unknown people and to know about their attitude towards you
- It bounds you to take challenge. Finding a way of a maples road is aspiration of street photography.
- It will help you professionally to gain new concept, unconventional idea and will help to create your masterpiece.
- People said in street photography 99% are wasted. I said street photography teaches you photography 99% and rest 1% you have to gain.
How to do good out in the street?
- What you are carrying who cares, carry that much you can effort, just remember you have to walk a lot and you cannot annoy people by your baggage.
- Street photography helps to stay focused but you have to make the connection. Smile a lot and try to make fun with people you are meeting.
- Make street photography one of your favorite time pass. Discovering new things everyday is like surfing in a new you.
- Street photography is like swimming. I am not kidding! When you learn to swim (photographing) you will desire to go deeper.
- Learn to handle yourself in the street. It is you and your personality that will help people to look at your camera naturally.
- Until you are not enjoying your walk your camera or your mind will not take your demand.
- Take a company or a friend with you at the beginning to break the ice. Shooting alone is way too enjoyable when you know how to treat yourself best in a lone journey. Do not go out with more than three friends then shooting will be secondary.
- Keep wakening your third eye
- Look at things in the streets like you are watching a movie. Find the characters, drama, action, humor and romance.
- Carry the camera that follows your command. Do not juggle with new equipments in the street without run it previously.
In the journey of photograph limitless experiences remain uncounted. Bad news won’t keep navigators from the open seas. The street photographer who loves the work he/she is doing will never stop. The courage of such ONE gives birth of His/her kind of street photography.
I teach street photography in The compelling Image: The Compelling Image: Online-Interactive Courses in Photography and Multimedia Storytelling
If you are interested to join in my street photography course sign in: Street Photography Classic and Creative
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"I see the beauty of people and the human soul in the pictures I take. And though the circumstances of some of the people I portray may be grim, back-breaking, depraved, the people themselves are always remarkable characters and souls" For me Photography is my language, to access, to communicate, to identify and mostly to make it hear. Through photography I only jot down my heart’s language. The best part about being a photographer is that I’m able to articulate the experiences of the voiceless and to bring their identities to the forefront which gives meaning and purpose to my own life. I have received more than 68 international awards and my work has been featured in over 70 major, international publications including: National Geographic, Vogue,Time, Sunday Times, Newsweek, Geo, Stern, Der Spiegel, The Fader, Brand Ein, The Guardian, Marie Claire, Colors, The Economist, The New Internationalist, Kontinente, Amnesty Journal, Courier International, PDN, Die Zeit, Days Japan, Hello, and Sunday Telegraph of London. In 2002 I became the first Bangladeshi to be selected for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in the Netherlands. In 2004 I received the Young Reporters Award from the Scope Photo Festival in Paris — once again, the first Bangladeshi to receive this honour. In 2005 I was awarded “Best of Show” at the Center for Fine Art Photography’s international competition in Colorado, USA. And in 2006 I was awarded World Press Photo award and released my premier book “First Light”. In 2007 I became the first Bangladeshi to be selected for the 30 Emerging Photographers (PDN 30), sponsored by Photo District News Magazine, USA. I won the 7th Vevey International Photography Grant from Switzerland in 2009 and in the same year, I took home the international ‘Travel photographer of the Year” title at the International Travel Photographer of the Year Competition (TPOY 2009) in the UK, the most prestigious award in travel photography. I was one of the speakers in the fifth Global Investigative Journalism Conference, held at Lillehammer, Norway in 2008 and as well I was the first Bangladeshi in Ted talk at TEDxOporto 2011, in Portugal. I was one of the speaker of “7th Forum of Emerging Leaders in Asian Journalism”, Yogyakarta / Indonesia”. In 2011 Nikon has selected me as one of the 8 influencers in Asia pacific (APAC region). Presentation of my 10 years project published as form of book ‘Survivors’ in 2012, which has reviewed by prestigious Geo magazine.